The Story of our Health Message


Distinguished Ladies Lead Out

With such pronounced opposition to the prevailing styles of dress, it is not surprising that the congressman gave his hearty approval when his daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Miller, adopted a dress somewhat on the style of the Turkish costume. Mr. Miller also approved and vigorously defended his wife’s startling but sensible break with the conventions. As she was among the first to wear publicly such a dress in the United States, the costume made a news feature for the press of that time. SHM 113.4

After wearing the dress for about three months, Mrs. Miller went to Seneca Falls, New York, to visit her cousin, Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the honored ladies of the nation because of her efforts in the cause of women. Evidently the advantages in freedom and comfort of the costume worn by Mrs. Miller made a strong appeal to her cousin, for she very soon donned a dress made in the same style. SHM 114.1

Mrs. Amelia Bloomer then entered the scene. She lived in Seneca Falls and edited The Lily, a monthly paper for women. Seeing the novelty, she admired it and soon became the third member of a triumvirate of dress reformers. In the issue of her journal for March, 1851, she described and praised the costume, and in the following month she announced her personal adoption of it, saying: SHM 114.2

“Reader ours, behold us now in short dress and trowsers, and then, if you please, give free vent to your feelings on the subject—praise or blame, approve or condemn, as might suit you best. We have become used to both, and are indifferent as to your opinion.”—The Lily, April, 1851. SHM 114.3